Sports

A Brief Discussion With One Of The Many Owners Of The Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers #12 and Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. i i

Aaron Rodgers #12 and Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers #12 and Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aaron Rodgers #12 and Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It's probably not news at this point that the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last night.

But it may come as a huge surprise to you that one of the owners of the Green Bay Packers — I know! — works at NPR and is a contributor to Monkey See and Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Well, in a manner of speaking. You see, the Packers are a community-owned nonprofit franchise, and stock in the team belongs to those who choose to buy some — in return for no dividends, no season ticket privileges, and no free cheese.

And who owns one share of stock in the Green Bay Packers? NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson. Eager for a look at the Super Bowl from the perspective of one of those fat-cat owners we're always reading about, I asked the transplanted Wisconsin-ite to speak about his experience of last night's game as a partial owner of the team.

Congratulations on the big win; how are you feeling this morning?

I'm not sure my brain is properly wired to experience a sensation of joy this soul-nourishingly pure. As you know, I'm the father of two remarkably delightful children, but the joy of parenthood is shot through with anxiety; with fear and risk and an element of helplessness. This joy, I'm almost incapable of. I know it's only a game, that I've never met anyone on this Packers team, and that many of these guys would likely stuff me into a locker if given the opportunity to do so. But I've managed to pile an awful lot of personal baggage onto the outcome of this season, and to have it pay off with a Super Bowl championship ... I keep waiting for the universe to flick me behind the ear and realign in such a way that the REAL Super Bowl was actually won by, like, the Tennessee Titans.

Packers' shareholder Stephen Thompson reacts as the Green Bay Packers' victory is sealed.

Packers' shareholder Stephen Thompson reacts as the Green Bay Packers' victory is sealed. (That is actually what this photo is, no kidding.) Mike Katzif/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mike Katzif/NPR

Let me ask about the elephant in the room: you may remember that a couple of years back, you guys let go of Brett Favre, who holds a bunch of, I guess, perfect attendance records? Anyway, do you have any thoughts about the number of Super Bowls Brett Favre has won versus the number of Super Bowls that your team has won since you parted ways with Brett Favre?

This technically qualifies as "leading the witness," counselor. But, yes, I do have some thoughts! It turns out that Brett Favre won one Super Bowl — on Jan. 26, 1997, not that I remember the date off the top of my head or anything — while Aaron Rodgers, who is 27, has also won one Super Bowl. I cannot decide which quarterback I would like the Packers to employ going forward!

You could assemble a thick and hilarious tome from the blatherings of paid football analysts who declared with absolute certainty, as recently as a few months ago, that the ol' gunslinger gives whatever team he's on its best possible chance to win, which is saying nothing of the endless reports of the Packers' imminent demise under the shaky young hand of Aaron Rodgers. We were doomed. Doomed, I tell you!

Have you, as one of the team's roughly 115,000 shareholders, gotten to speak to Rodgers at all? I mean, I assume you have access.

He hasn't answered any of my texts, but that could be because they consisted of me shrieking, "I LOVE YOU, AARON RODGERS!" in the general direction of the cosmos. The fact that he seems to be resisting the enormous temptation to waggle his fanny at Brett Favre, literally or figuratively, makes him a better man than I am.

How would you sum up the Packers' philosophy to those who perhaps aren't familiar with it?

When the Packers won the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago against the hated Chicago Bears, I received several congratulatory phone calls from lifelong Washington Redskins fans, all of whom were bitterly jealous — not just of the Super Bowl appearance, but of the fact that the Packers are basically the exact opposite of the horrid Redskins. The Redskins have a widely loathed owner in Daniel Snyder (don't sue!), trade draft picks for washed-up veterans, overpay said washed-up veterans, and generally marinate in greed and player disgruntlement.

The Packers are publicly owned, built almost entirely through the draft, run like a business instead of a fantasy football team, and routinely bathed in public goodwill. During training camp in Green Bay, kids bring their bikes and loan them to players for their journey between the practice field and the locker room; it's basically the cutest thing ever. If Daniel Snyder owned the Packers, the right to have a Packer ride your kid's bike would cost $1,000.

Do you anticipate that your life is going to change as a result of this? What's the first thing you are going to buy with what I can only assume is a large cash bonus you get for being a co-owner of the Super Bowl champions? [Note: It turns out this is not true.]

My plan is to be frozen cryogenically in my current state, so that I may be thawed out the next time the Packers win the Super Bowl.

What do you see as your most important duty as an owner?

Primarily, I serve as a "fan ambassador" to the public at large. My responsibilities include loud whooping and shrieking, jersey-wearing and a regimen of high-impact insufferability.

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